Top administrators listen to students’ concerns at Upper Darby campus

Sunday, May 3, 2015

By Marwa Benahmed-Ali

Special to The Communitarian

DCCC president Jerry Parker visited the Upper Darby campus March 12 to host a “Your Opinion Matters” forum to hear students’ opinions, suggestions,  and concerns about the campus.

Forty-three students attended the event to voice their opinions to Parker and special guests, including Vice Provost Mary-Joe Boyer, Jane Schurman, director of the Upper Darby Campus, Fran Cubberly, vice president of Enrollment Management, and Craig Fitz, strategic planner for the president.

Twenty-one nursing majors, said they wanted to have more science classes offered at Upper Darby for pre nursing and TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skill)  exam preparatory classes.

Six students were psychology majors, three were communication majors, and two were early-childhood education majors.

Students expressed concerns regarding the library, tutoring, and child care services.

Students also asked for more resources, adding that it is helpful and useful when they study.

Another suggestion was to hold Saturday classes at the Upper Darby Campus.

“It would be helpful since many students have busy lives,” said Jozette Brown a 28 year old nursing major.

Boyer recorded students’ suggestions, concerns, and opinions on posters.

Before the forum began, Parker welcomed everyone to his neighborhood. “I live about four blocks away and I have been for the past 37 years, so I welcome you all,” said Parker.

Parker said he enjoys the diversity and how he is attuned to the changes in the community. He also mentioned that the Upper Darby campus was established because of its population and accessibility.

After Parker’s introduction, students began the first round of suggestions. “I am a nursing major and it would be nice to have a TEAS class offered at the Upper Darby Campus,” nursing major Andrene Lindsay said. “I want to be well prepared for the exam.”

Neisha Kendrick, 23, also a nursing major, said it would be nice to have more science classes offered at the Upper Darby Campus, so that students would not have to go to Marple campus to complete lab assignments.

Boyer later responded to students’ questions and said that virtual labs would be piloted in 2016 at the Southeast Center. She also said that a BIO 150 class would be available during the fall semester, but labs must be done at Marple campus for now.

After nursing students finished asking their questions, other students had the opportunity to voice opinions and suggestions. Students told Parker that there weren’t enough computers, thereby making it hard to get work done.

“Services will be expanded to all locations, but space is still a problem,” Parker said. “Computers will be added and more electronic space is useful.”

Students suggested that more tutors be available at Upper Darby. “I feel like a lot of students need help with writing,” Kendrick said. “ Every time I try to get help from a tutor, they’re always booked.”

The remainder of the forum consisted of complaints about faculty. Boyer stressed that students should not address complaints they have about teachers during the forum but rather address them with Shamell Jackson, the site director at the Upper Darby Campus.

Parker concluded the forum by thanking everyone for coming. Students were then treated to lunch provided by Parker, whom, along with other guests, stayed after the forum to answer any additional questions or concerns.

Boyer said she will review the students’ comments with other administrators and faculty, and they will do their best to satisfy the needs of students at Upper Darby.

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